Jump to content

We should stop teaching kids about Santa Claus


Michael Rielly
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • Management

Opinion: We should stop teaching kids about Santa Claus. Before you call me a grinch, hear me out.

The “magic” of Christmas is literally a lie. We shouldn’t want to indoctrinate children this way.

The San Diego Union-Tribune
By William L. Vanderburgh
Dec. 21, 2022 6 AM PT

istock-1281100629.jpg

Santa, despite his reputation for lighthearted fun, is bad for children, bad for parents, bad for the environment and bad for the wider culture. It is time for the old man to retire.

The “miracles” we tell children Santa performs — knowing if you’ve been bad or good, making reindeer fly, traveling to every house in a single night and squeezing his not-insignificant bulk down chimneys that are clearly too small for him, not to mention consuming incredible quantities of milk and cookies without ever stopping for a bathroom break — these are all hidden ways of making children susceptible to superstitious thinking.

The “magic” of Christmas is literally a lie. We shouldn’t want to indoctrinate children this way.

The idea that you should be good because some powerful all-seeing being is watching and you might get in trouble is appropriate for a brief period in a young child’s development. Really, we should be teaching them to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, not for external reward and punishment. Some guy in a beard watching your every move is creepy.

The clearest indication that Santa is bad for kids is how upset they get when they learn he is fake. I suppose there is some value in the life lesson that even the people closest to you will lie and manipulate your feelings. But at 7 years old?

The Santa myth is bad for parents, too. It makes us do things we should not do, like lying to our kids, sneaking around trying to fool them and spending far too much money on gifts — money that could have done more for our families if spent in wiser ways. Any of those things would get us on Santa’s naughty list!

That plastic toy your kid might play with for a month, or maybe just an hour, has a lifespan of hundreds of years. Every toy we buy is future garbage; every Amazon truck is half-filled with soon-to-be trash, and the other half is a-bit-later-to-be trash.

I’m not saying kids should have no toys. But so many? Do the toys have to be plastic? And all that packaging? Ruining the future world our children will live in, merely for a few moments of trivial fun they are probably going to forget, is not in anyone’s best interests.

Everything else aside, it would be easier for kids to keep their rooms clean if we didn’t give them mountains of junk!

Besides the environmental harm, the Santa myth promotes consumerism. Owning just to own, buying just to buy. This sets kids up for a lifetime of striving for superficial things that prevent deeper happiness.

Think of all those enslaved elves, toiling away with primitive tools in freezing conditions while being forced to wear demeaning costumes.

That’s a joke, of course. But who is making those toys? If their working conditions were excellent and the toys were still so inexpensive, that really would be a Christmas miracle.

Plus, Santa as portrayed in American culture is a creation of corporations, propaganda to get you to buy stuff. We shouldn’t play along with powerful groups trying to manipulate us into doing things for their good rather than ours.

Santa-culture running rampant also has the effect of making non-Christians — about 36 percent of the U.S. population, according to a recent Pew Research — feel like outsiders in their own country. This cultural dominance is also bad for Christians, who can accidentally slide into the belief that Christianity should dominate just because it does.

For parents who want to keep Santa in their Christmas repertoire, the easy solution is to say that Santa is pretend, just for fun. Treat Santa like Rey Skywalker, Spider-Man and Elsa of Arendelle. Kids won’t love Santa less for being fictional.

Some will accuse me of being a soldier in the war on Christmas, and, yes, I guess I am. Not because I’m offended by well-intentioned greetings, and certainly not because I don’t want you to celebrate your religious holidays. That’s totally your business. My worry is that the way Americans celebrate Christmas — besides being a corruption of the Christmas message — has far-reaching negative effects.

Santa isn’t part of Christian doctrine, so being anti-Santa isn’t being anti-Christian. Go ahead and celebrate Christmas, if that’s your thing. But think about doing it better.

Now don’t get me started about the Elf on the Shelf.

SOURCE: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/commentary/story/2022-12-21/stop-teaching-kids-santa-claus

  • Sad 2
  • Angry 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just what the world needs. No hope, no laughter, no happiness, no magic, no make believe, no dreaming. Just sheer outright misery, which the author sells. 

  • Like 5
  • Love 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is unfortunate that misery like company and proves it all the time.

The whole child like faith given by children for Santa is the key for them to learning how to have that same faith and trust in God!

 

  • Like 3
  • Love 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another click-bait opinion article designed to be rage-shared for advertising revenue.

I didn’t even bother reading past the first couple of sentences.

I know the overwhelming majority of the population intend to continue the tradition of Santa Claus for generations.

  • Like 1
  • Love 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Of course the author thinks the tradition of Santa Claus harms the environment (I’m not surprised . . . typical dumb Left Coast Fruitcake). It’s  almost as if the author desires to make everyone else as miserable as Mr. Vanderburg. To quote from @Black Hills Santa:

1 hour ago, Black Hills Santa said:

Just what the world needs. No hope, no laughter, no happiness, no magic, no make believe, no dreaming. Just sheer outright misery, which the author sells.

I’d also add that, under such a miserable childhood, there would (by extension) be no fairytales, or storybooks, or anything like that. The author is probably one of those crazy “parents” who doesn’t even let their children pretend (because it harms the environment . . . probably), or play dress-up (unless he manipulates his little boy into thinking that he’s a girl—but that’s another matter).

All these miserable people want is to create misery for others (like with communism). There can be no real childhood, after all, for the child laborers of the author’s “utopian” (really dystopian) dream State. Better start off early!

Edited by Sundblom Santa
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, Schwindy said:

"It's the end of the World as we know it, 
& I FEEL FINE" 

R.E.M. 

R.E.M. & I FEEL FINE!

Man, I haven't heard R.E.M. in ages. What can you say? We Santa's have good taste in music!

  • Like 2
  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Management

It is quite sad to feel that way.  To express such indicates a lack of hope.  A larger lack of faith, even.  And that is why Santa Claus must continue through the ages.  You see, Santa is most children's first exposure to the concept of faith.  This whole opinion is the express reason why he must endure.

  • Like 5
  • Love 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, rdpugh said:

You will have nothing and you will be happy about it.

Yep, Communism 101.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Santa SteveKl said:

It is unfortunate that misery like company and proves it all the time.

The whole child like faith given by children for Santa is the key for them to learning how to have that same faith and trust in God!

 

Well no. It’s not a great leap in a child’s mind at all to say “So Santa is just a story, so is God.” If using the “myth” of Santa as a way to teach children to have faith in God, that is a built in flaw. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Sundblom Santa said:

Of course the author thinks the tradition of Santa Claus harms the environment (I’m not surprised . . . typical dumb Left Coast Fruitcake). It’s  almost as if the author desires to make everyone else as miserable as Mr. Vanderburg. To quote from @Black Hills Santa:

I’d also add that, under such a miserable childhood, there would (by extension) be no fairytales, or storybooks, or anything like that. The author is probably one of those crazy “parents” who doesn’t even let their children pretend (because it harms the environment . . . probably), or play dress-up (unless he manipulates his little boy into thinking that he’s a girl—but that’s another matter).

All these miserable people want is to create misery for others (like with communism). There can be no real childhood, after all, for the child laborers of the author’s “utopian” (really dystopian) dream State. Better start off early!

Come now. I don’t think name calling is needed here. I live on the “Left Coast” and I do not share this author’s perspective. 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, rdpugh said:

You will have nothing and you will be happy about it.

I understand the knee jerk backlash of assuming the exact verbal opposite of the author’s words. Having nothing, though, is not what they are trying to get at. They are talking about teaching children the value of what they have, what is around them, each other… without putting so much emotional value on physical items. Now I do believe that children should get wonderful gifts for Christmas, but it does need to be tempered with teaching them that success or happiness or live is not tied to physical things. 

  • Love 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Felix Estridge said:

It is quite sad to feel that way.  To express such indicates a lack of hope.  A larger lack of faith, even.  And that is why Santa Claus must continue through the ages.  You see, Santa is most children's first exposure to the concept of faith.  This whole opinion is the express reason why he must endure.

And it will! Santa in one manner or another will always endure!

  • Love 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

57 minutes ago, AsaClaus said:
7 hours ago, Sundblom Santa said:

Come now. I don’t think name calling is needed here. I live on the “Left Coast” and I do not share this author’s perspective. 

Believe it or not, I really highly value your criticism. Thank you for helping all of us to live up to the principles of the Santa Claus Oath. Love you, brother. Thanks for the reminder (for all of us).

Edited by Sundblom Santa
  • Like 1
  • Love 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Sundblom Santa said:

Believe it or not, I really highly value your criticism. Thank you for helping all of us to live up to the principles of the Santa Claus Oath. Love you, brother. Thanks for the reminder (for all of us).

No criticism intended. Just helping us all try to allow the best inside of us to shine. 

  • Love 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

29 minutes ago, AsaClaus said:

No criticism intended. Just helping us all try to allow the best inside of us to shine.

That’s what it’s all about. Keep on doing it, Santa.

  • Like 1
  • Love 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, AsaClaus said:

Well no. It’s not a great leap in a child’s mind at all to say “So Santa is just a story, so is God.” If using the “myth” of Santa as a way to teach children to have faith in God, that is a built in flaw. 

I am not suggesting you use Santa to teach about God. I said that the same unconditional faith that children place in Santa is what they need for God and can be easily transitioned. I know because I have been able to do it with my own children and other children in my extended family.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Santa SteveKl said:

I am not suggesting you use Santa to teach about God. I said that the same unconditional faith that children place in Santa is what they need for God and can be easily transitioned. I know because I have been able to do it with my own children and other children in my extended family.

I don’t know… I still see problems here. Haha 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/29/2022 at 11:15 AM, Black Hills Santa said:

Just what the world needs. No hope, no laughter, no happiness, no magic, no make believe, no dreaming. Just sheer outright misery, which the author sells. 

Ditto!

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/30/2022 at 7:33 AM, Santa SteveKl said:

I am not suggesting you use Santa to teach about God. I said that the same unconditional faith that children place in Santa is what they need for God and can be easily transitioned. I know because I have been able to do it with my own children and other children in my extended family.

It's funny because:
   It's the only way I'll portray Santa. I've been asked NOT TO DO SO, & I politely agree and nod my head, if face to face I extend my hand and tell them. "Well then you will need to find another Santa, NO hard feelings here on my end but it's what I do. Sorry but there are many out there who will do as you ask, best of luck and enjoy the Season". It's only happened less than a handful of times, but it's happened :santa_rolleyes: 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

36 minutes ago, Schwindy said:
On 12/30/2022 at 7:33 AM, Santa SteveKl said:

I am not suggesting you use Santa to teach about God. I said that the same unconditional faith that children place in Santa is what they need for God and can be easily transitioned. I know because I have been able to do it with my own children and other children in my extended family.

It's funny because:
   It's the only way I'll portray Santa. I've been asked NOT TO DO SO, & I politely agree and nod my head, if face to face I extend my hand and tell them. "Well then you will need to find another Santa, NO hard feelings here on my end but it's what I do. Sorry but there are many out there who will do as you ask, best of luck and enjoy the Season". It's only happened less than a handful of times, but it's happened :santa_rolleyes: 

We should each seek to be "a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work" (2 Tim. 2:21) "which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them" (Eph. 2:10). God has providentially directed, ordained, and sustained all of us in this vocation. While we should all know our audience and respond like Santa would, we should also be wise enough to know not everyone would like the more spiritual side of Santa (and, with Schwindy, speaking for myself at least, I would probably politely decline, barring exceptions, of course; e.g., children's hospital work, etcetera).

Edited by Sundblom Santa
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sad, it’s is a sad commentary.

We’ve just arrived back from a 12 hour drive from visiting family and don’t that the wear with all to clearly comment further. There is so much in the oped that leads to further commentary. 

Happy New Year, I’ll be back to comment further.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was surprised by the tone and content of the oped. The writer has some issues with how Christmas is celebrated in North America and the image of Santa Claus. There are three areas of the article that I question, the Magic of Christmas, the environmental nature of some popular gift, and parenting skills.

First of all, I was surprised that a professional writer would have issues of encouraging the development and use of childrens’ imaginations. The puritanical rant of stopping the lies of the “Magic” seems incongruous with the art of writing and the development of creative thinking. Taking away these fantastical stories makes our difficult world more grey and lacking in hope and possibilities.

I can understand the environmental concerns, but parents have choices in what is bought and given to their children. This bridges with parenting skills. Parents have the ability to influence the wants and dreams of their children. We see it most times when children share their wish list with Santa. Parents can sway choices and avoid the landfill items. Parents can create their own family traditions and work on the progression from childhood’s belief to an adolescent responsibility in doing act of good and kindness without seeing constant praise and acknowledgement - counter to our contemporary culture. The parents raise the child.

I’m wondering if this editorial was an assignment that wasgiven at the 11th hour and half heartily put together. It’s difficult to believe that an educator person who is a writer for an established newspaper would subscribe to this argument.  But as always, we will keep living the the example of St. Nicholas and educate the public to the true nature of gift giving and purpose of the season.

  • Like 4
  • Love 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel like a dog with a bone on this thread, my apologies, but here’s a Ted Talk from 2011 that better explains my position. MK Haley gives a 6 minutes talk that sums it up.

Enjoy!

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"In a world of make believe I'm a believer." - Neil Diamond

I keep a laminated icon of the true St. Nicholas in my car to remind me who I represent as Santa Claus.  I don't want to be a part of a society that doesn't embrace the spirit of Christmas embodied in the portrayal of our modern Santa Claus, an evolved image of Nicholas of Myra.  

  • Like 2
  • Love 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, SantaDon said:

"In a world of make believe I'm a believer." - Neil Diamond

I keep a laminated icon of the true St. Nicholas in my car to remind me who I represent as Santa Claus.  I don't want to be a part of a society that doesn't embrace the spirit of Christmas embodied in the portrayal of our modern Santa Claus, an evolved image of Nicholas of Myra.  

If we had more people who embraced the work, ethics, and life of St. Nicholas of Myra, we'd have a much better, gentler, and kinder world. Those are my $0.02, anyways.

  • Like 2
  • Love 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, Santa Bruce Geron said:

I was surprised by the tone and content of the oped. The writer has some issues with how Christmas is celebrated in North America and the image of Santa Claus. There are three areas of the article that I question, the Magic of Christmas, the environmental nature of some popular gift, and parenting skills.

First of all, I was surprised that a professional writer would have issues of encouraging the development and use of childrens’ imaginations. The puritanical rant of stopping the lies of the “Magic” seems incongruous with the art of writing and the development of creative thinking. Taking away these fantastical stories makes our difficult world more grey and lacking in hope and possibilities.

I can understand the environmental concerns, but parents have choices in what is bought and given to their children. This bridges with parenting skills. Parents have the ability to influence the wants and dreams of their children. We see it most times when children share their wish list with Santa. Parents can sway choices and avoid the landfill items. Parents can create their own family traditions and work on the progression from childhood’s belief to an adolescent responsibility in doing act of good and kindness without seeing constant praise and acknowledgement - counter to our contemporary culture. The parents raise the child.

I’m wondering if this editorial was an assignment that wasgiven at the 11th hour and half heartily put together. It’s difficult to believe that an educator person who is a writer for an established newspaper would subscribe to this argument.  But as always, we will keep living the the example of St. Nicholas and educate the public to the true nature of gift giving and purpose of the season.

I agree that this article feels like a college student rushing his term paper the night before it’s due. I also feel like the gripe of environmental damage is more about consumerism than it is about Claus. 
 

That all being said, we as a Santa community, need to understand where perpetuating the BELIEF in Santa stands. It is NOT the same as fairy tales or “using imagination”. We are telling children that this man who can travel the world in a night, know your most intimate rights and wrongs and who possesses lore magic than some Greek gods is REAL. That’s a whole different level. 
 

I think our community tends to shy away from the fact that we do this. We lean hard into the “I believe” when it’s fun and lighthearted but when people start saying it’s wrong to “trick” children or that we are “lying” to them, we backpedal into “well you’re saying imagination is wrong!” when we know that isn’t at all what they’re saying. 
 

Look, I believe in Santa like I believe in love. And we need to really learn to define those beliefs or we will always be at the pointy end of the liar’s sword. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It came time to have a talk with one of my grandsons who would like to follow in my footsteps as a Santa. I needed to help him understand that as a Santa the greatest gift that you can give is hope. And sometimes that is the one gift you can't buy. I want him to understand that even when you do not wear the red suit that you must always try to be Santa like, to be kind, to smile when the times are hard, to be generous and to extend a hand whenever you can. To remember that Santa kneels before Christ and gives thanks for the gifts he brought to us. For the gifts we give are only a shadow of what he has promised. I read the article that started all this, and as a Santa I will endeavor to prove it wrong. Children need something to shield them from the truisms of the world until they are mentally ready to deal with them. I have seen and even dealt with children who are told only the "facts" as their parents see them and are allowed to roam freely so they can experience life as it is. I have come to compare these children to feral animals who know no bounds and no respect for themselves or others, and my heart hurts for them.  

  • Like 1
  • Love 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/3/2023 at 8:44 PM, Santa Bruce Geron said:

I feel like a dog with a bone on this thread, my apologies, but here’s a Ted Talk from 2011 that better explains my position. MK Haley gives a 6 minutes talk that sums it up.

Enjoy!

This talk was excellent!!!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, If I am bad for the environment etc.. so be it as unfortunately for the "Do gooders" who obviously have very little else in their own lives other than to attempt to sublimate the joy, happiness and magic of others, in particular at Christmas time, they will simply have to get used to the time honored traditions and meanings of Christmas.

Alternatively, seek surgical advice in respect of a reversal of their apparent personality bypass! 

I shall now have a nice cup of teas as these people make my foot itch! :) 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

🎄 COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS

  • Days
  • Hours
  • Minutes
  • Seconds

  • Donations

    All donations go directly towards the cost of hosting and running ClausNet!

    Your support, through donations or simply by clicking on sponsor links, is greatly appreciated!

    Donate Sidebar by DevFuse
  • Our picks

    • How do You Portray Santa?
      Portraying Santa is acting; it is a characterization of a mythical character.

      Most of us never think of ourselves as actors, but we are. Certain characteristics of Santa Claus have been handed down from one generation to another. The way we dress and conduct ourselves all follow an established pattern.

      Santa Claus is one of the most recognizable characters throughout the world. This came about from the advertising campaign of the Coke Cola Company and the creative painting genius, of Haddon Sundblom. Coke Cola was looking to increase winter sales of its soft drink and hired Sundblom to produce illustrations for prominent magazines. These illustrations appeared during the holiday season from the late 1930s into the early 1970s and set the standard for how Santa should look.

      This characterization of Santa with rosy cheeks, a white beard, handlebar mustache plus a red costume trimmed in white fur is the image most everyone has in their minds. Unconsciously people are going to judge you against that image. If your beard isn’t white or you have a soiled suit it will register with the onlooker.

      By the way, the majority of Sundblom's paintings depict Santa with a Brown Belt and Brown Boots. Not until his later illustrations did he change the color to Black for these items. Within the past few years many costume companies have offered the Coke Cola Suit and it has become very popular. You can tell it by the large buttons and absence of fur down the front of the jacket.

      No matter how you portray Santa, be it home visits, schools, churches, parades, corporate events, malls, hospitals we all make an entrance and an impression! The initial impression we make determines if our client will ask us to return.

      The 5 Second Rule

      I have a theory: When you enter the presence of your audience you have about 5 seconds to make people believe you are the real Santa.
        • Thanks
        • Love
        • Like
      • 14 replies
    • If You Have the Post Christmas Blues You’re Doing Christmas Wrong
      The post-Christmas blues are a very real thing. Once the date of December 25th has passed the specter of December 26th is an ominous marker to many. It sits there on the calendar like the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come. Silent and foreboding, the very image of the hooded Angel of Death it seems to be. And why not?

      Just about anywhere you look Americans are tossing trees to the curb, ripping down lights from rooftops and radio stations are flipping back to everyday music. What took months to build gets deconstructed in a matter of a couple of days.
        • Love
        • Like
      • 30 replies
    • Not Everyone Can Be Santa!
      Yes, I said it and it is not meant to hurt anyone’s feelings. I do view many Facebook sites along with websites and posted photos. Frankly, many of these postings should have never been put on public display.
        • Thanks
        • Love
        • Like
      • 9 replies
    • Auld Lang Syne
      Every New Year’s Eve at the stroke of midnight, millions around the world traditionally gather together to sing the same song, “Auld Lang Syne”. As revilers mumble though the song’s versus, it often brings many of them to tears – regardless of the fact that most don’t know or even understand the lyrics. Confusion over the song’s lyrics is almost as much of a tradition as the song itself. Of course that rarely stops anyone from joining in.
        • Wow
        • Thanks
        • Love
        • Like
      • 4 replies
    • Merry Christmas, My Friend
      Every year around this time, some variation of this poem is circulated online. The poem is generally credited to “a soldier stationed in Okinawa” or more recently since September 11, 2001, “a Marine stationed in Afghanistan”.

      However, the poem’s true author is Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt.

      Originally entitled, “Merry Christmas, My Friend”, Corporal Schmidt wrote the poem in 1986 while serving as Battalion Counter Sniper at the Marine Barracks 8th & I, in Washington, D.C.

      That day the poem was placed in the Marine Corps Gazette and distributed worldwide. Schmidt’s poem was later published in Leatherneck (Magazine of the Marines) in December 1991.
        • Sad
        • Love
        • Like
      • 1 reply
×
×
  • Create New...